09 January 2018

REVIEW: Statik Selektah - 8

On December 8th, we got Statik Selektah's 8th studio album, 8. Obviously continuing with the number wordplay he started with his previous album, Lucky Number 7. Now that the holiday rush is finally dying down and I got over my review fatigue (I am not a machine), I am able to get back to form to start the year off right. Mr. Selektah has been climbing up my "top DJ/producer" list the past decade or so. His latest offering is another eclectic mix of rappers and emcees paired with his ever evolving sound. But let's just jump into it. Stop wasting time in 2018.

The soulful boom bap track "But You Don't Hear Me Tho" is an instant classic. Statik taps fellow ROC NATION label mates the muthafuckin' Lox to take on the lyrical duties. Statik said, “This is classic hip hop music, for lovers of hip hop music. No gimmicks.” The legendary trio ride the smooth instrumental like the vets they are. Each emcee (Sheek Louch, Styles P and Jadakiss) gives us nostalgic bars and take trips down their respective memory lanes. Not only do they reminisce about their personal upbringing, but they also recall what Hip Hop meant to them in it's early stages. Statik flexes his cutting skills and drops scratches throughout the track. You can't get a more polished joint than this one.

Another hit (hit for me, not radio hit) is the track "Nobody Move" with Raekwon and Royce Da 5'9". The grimey track is LACED with crazy hard (pause) bars and metaphors from these two lyrical titans. Raekwon hits us with raw Purple Tape type lyrics that prove that this living legend has a hold of the fountain of youth. Royce makes Detroit proud with his top shelf metaphors and wordplay. Both emcees gives us different points of view but find common ground with a hunger that was essential in the Golden Era of Hip Hop.

Statik has been averaging about 18 tracks per solo albums (8 has 18). Plus his 17 collab albums, a pair of EPs, and that's not even getting into his mixtape arsenal and production credits. All that to say this: the man has been HUSTLIN' and has made a name for himself in the Hip Hop history book. That name allows him to comprise the CRAZY features found on 8: 2 Chainz, Wiz Khalifa, Run The Jewels, Action Bronson, Wale, G-Easy, Joey Bada$$, The Lox, Termanology, Conway, Westside Gunn, Crimeapple, Millyz, Nick Grant, Avenue, Chris Rivers, Joyner Lucas, Tek, Wais P, Sean Price, Cousin Stizz, Curren$y, PNB Rock, Lil Fame, Royce Da 5'9", Raekwon, B-Real, Everlast, No Malice, Prodigy, Juelz Santana, and Plays. As always you have to respect the fact that he can get this gumbo to talent. And the emcee pairings on single tracks is another skill altogether. Tracks that pair Raekwon and Royce, or G-Easy and Joey Bada$$, or Tek, Wais P and Sean Price are a true Hip Hop heads wet dream (pause #2 of 2018). But in comparison to his previous projects (Lucky Number 7, What Goes Around, and my personal favorite Extended Play) this one feels a hair disjointed. It's a catch 22. With such an array of options, this album is sure to please the masses. But it might not hold an individuals interest throughout. By no means is this album a flop. If you love Hip Hop, you'll enjoy this album. Point blank. If you can't find a track you love, rethink your Hip Hop head status. You know this is special project if he was able to get some Prodigy verses on an Alchemist assisted track. Besides Alchemist (or Havoc), you ain't gonna see P verses out there like that. Either way you cut it, Statik sent Hip Hop out the right way in 2017.

Peep videos and album below.

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03 January 2018

MAD Skillz - Murda Gram

Dammit I spoke too soon.  Shoulda known Skillz wasn't gon let this shit slide.  A day after my post about Skillz being lazy, he claps back at Uncle Murda in true veteran fashion.  He took it back to the days when people didn't tolerate biting someone's whole style and trying to profit from it.  Even though Uncle Murda's Rap Ups these past few years have been vastly superior to Skillz, it was more due to an overall lack of effort on Skillz part because the VA emcee is a far greater rapper than Uncle Murda ever was.  Neither one of them are really making much noise as artists these days, so I feel like both of them have the time to make this grow into a legit battle, unlike these pussy ass battles we've had from Meek and Drake, to Remy and Nicki, and most recently Ma$e and Cam'ron.

Helluva way to kick off 2018, fellas.  If Uncle Murda pulls a Meek and takes 3 months to respond, his nonexistent career might actually be over cuz Skillz completely buries that nigga on this track.  As a fan of the culture, I truly hope this is not another one-sided affair.  Peep the track below as the clock ticks for Uncle Murda's clap back.

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02 January 2018

Skillz vs. Uncle Murda - RAP UP 2017

I'm not even gonna sugar coat it, it's time for Skillz to hang it up.  Look man, helluva run but your spot got snatched a couple years ago.  Uncle Murda's brand of Rap Ups these past couple years seem to just hit harder than his counterpart's in all facets.  He infuses more energy and wit into his bars that manage to hold your ear better than Skillz's lazy efforts these past couple years.

The dichotomy between the two is interesting though.  It's like the devil and the angel on each shoulder, but when has anyone ever cared about what the angel has to say?  That shit is boring and corny, and instead, most fans are gravitating toward what the grimy street dude has to say.  Uncle Murda understands how to keep listeners entertained, while Skillz seems to just be doin this shit for the hell of it at this point.  I was hoping the competitive aspect would force Skillz to go back to mid-2000s form, but this 2017 Rap Up ain't it.  Peep both Year-End Rap Ups below.

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